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Bill Evans “I Loves You, Porgy” (Complete Transcription)

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Bill Evans “I Loves You, Porgy” (Complete Transcription) with sheet music download.

I Loves You, Porgy” is a duet from the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was performed in the opera’s premiere in 1935 and on Broadway the same year by Anne Brown and Todd Duncan. They recorded the song on volume 2 of the album Selections from George Gershwin’s Folk Opera Porgy and Bess in 1942.

The duet occurs in act 2, scene 3, Catfish Row, where Porgy promises Bess that he will protect her. Bess has a lover, Crown, who is abusive and continually seduces her.

It has been popularized by Nina Simone‘s adaptation from her first album, Little Girl Blue.

Edward D. Latham contends that Gershwin’s experimental use of simple rondo form with the main theme as the refrain echoes the tension between Porgy and Bess in the duet, “It is as if Bess is clinging to the refrain for dear life, afraid that if she wanders too far from it, she will lose Porgy’s love for good.

Once again, it is Porgy who guides Bess back to the home key, re-establishing F major with a half cadence at the end of the B and C sections.” Gershwin thereby subverts the rondo forms as a guaranteed sign of confidence and stability into an indication of the situation’s volatility. Gershwin had originally changed the title from Porgy to Porgy and Bess to emphasise the romance between the two title characters and accommodate operatic conventions.

On the technicality of Bess’s role in the duet, Helen M. Greenwald, chair of the department of music history at New England Conservatory and editor of the Oxford Handbook of Opera, wrote that Bess’s solo “requires the legato power of a Puccini heroine”.

I Loves You Porgy (1935) from the opera “Porgy and Bess”

“It takes years and years of experience to know that such a note cannot take such a syllable, that many a poetic line can be unsingable, that many an ordinary line fitted into the proper musical phrase can sound like a million.”
– Ira Gershwin

The folk opera Porgy and Bess was based on a 1926 novel Porgy written by a white poet from South Carolina, DuBose Heyward, who, with his wife Dorothy, adapted the novel for a play which had a successful run in 1927. The story centers on a disabled black man (Porgy), the woman he loves (Bess), her lover (Crown), and a drug dealer (Sportin’ Life). In the Broadway show which featured a mostly black cast these roles were played respectively by Todd Duncan, Anne Brown (who introduced “I Loves You Porgy”), Warren Coleman, and John W. Bubbles.

The Heywards and the Gershwins spent part of the summer of 1934 near Charleston observing a group called the Gullahs who became the prototypes for the residents of the show’s Catfish Row.

Although George Gershwin had proposed in 1926 that Heyward write the libretto for an opera, nothing happened for several reasons until 1933, and then their lack of proximity to each other made the collaboration difficult. It was then that Ira Gershwin became involved in the project. Some of the lyrics for songs from Porgy and Bess are credited to Ira alone, but the ever self-effacing lyricist is quoted in Philip Furia’s book Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist as saying, “Even with these, however, Ira maintained ‘I’m pretty sure I was indebted, theme-wise, to a word or phrase borrowed from the text.’” Several songs, including “I Loves You Porgy,” are credited to both Ira and Heyward.

As Furia points out, “In their collaborations, it was apparent to Ira that Heyward, fine poet that he was, simply was not skilled in the lyricist’s craft of writing singable and memorable words.” As Ira says in his book Lyrics on Several Occasions, “This is no reflection on DuBose’s ability. It takes years and years of experience to know that such a note cannot take such a syllable, that many a poetic line can be unsingable, that many an ordinary line fitted into the proper musical phrase can sound like a million.”

Many jazz artists have mined the now popular score, including Billie Holiday (1948), Oscar Peterson (1959), and the MJQ (1964). A 1956 studio recording (reissued on CD in 1999) included the complete score with Al “Jazzbo” Collins providing the narration, Mel Torme singing the role of Porgy and Frances Faye as Bess; Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded the songs in 1957; Miles Davis and arranger Gil Evans recorded their highly praised album in 1958. Nina Simone’s rendition of “I Loves You Porgy,” featured on her 1959 debut album, became one of the top 20 songs on the Billboard charts. In 2004 trumpeter/flugelhornist Clark Terry recorded songs from Porgy and Bess (including “I Loves You Porgy”) with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Jeff Lindberg.

There was great enthusiasm for the production which opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York on October 10, 1935. An elaborate opening-night party was planned, but there was little to celebrate after the reviews came out, most of which, at best, were mixed. The show ran for only 124 performances, most of them at a loss. George, who considered Porgy and Bess his best work, would not live to see the acclaim that it eventually received.

According the Edward Jablonski in Gershwin: A Biography, “[Ira] was thrilled in 1976 when the Houston Grand Opera presented a stunning production of Porgy and Bess with the original score and orchestration intact. The production was a triumph which brought the shock of recognition: Porgy and Bess was a real opera. Ira rejoiced in this, his brother’s vindication. (Ira did not live for that ultimate endorsement, a production at the Metropolitan Opera House, during the spring of 1985, nor the greater triumph at Glyndebourne, England, in the summer of 1986.)” Although bedridden, Ira was pleased that the show also was revived at Radio City Music Hall before his death in 1983.

The 1959 film of Porgy and Bess featured Sidney Poitier as Porgy (voice dubbed by Robert McFerrin), Dorothy Dandridge as Bess (voice dubbed by Adele Addison), Sammy Davis, Jr. as Sportin’ Life, and Brock Peters as Crown.

Other notable songs from the opera include the ever popular jazz standard “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Bess You Is My Woman Now,” and “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’.” Selections from Porgy and Bess were recorded in 1935 by white opera singers. Several other versions were recorded between 1940 and 2006 when the first recording of Gershwin’s original production was released featuring a cast backed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

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Best Classical Music

Copland: Four Piano Blues No. 1 (with sheet music)

Copland: Four Piano Blues No. 1 (with sheet music download)

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Aaron Copland – A short biography

American composer Aaron Copland is known for works like “Appalachian Spring” and “Fanfare for the Common Man,” among many others.

Who Was Aaron Copland?

Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn, New York, and went on to study piano and composition and studying in Europe for some time. He became one of the century’s foremost composers with highly influential music that had a distinctive blend of classical, folk and jazz idioms. Some of Copland’s most prominent pieces included Fanfare for the Common Man, El Salon Mexico and Appalachian Spring, for which he won the Pulitzer. An Oscar-winning writer of film scores as well, Copland died on December 2, 1990.

Early Years and Travels

Composer Aaron Copland was born on November 14, 1900, in Brooklyn, New York to parents of Jewish and Eastern European descent. The youngest of five children, Copland went on to develop an interest in the piano, receiving guidance from his older sister. He later studied under Rubin Goldmark in Manhattan and regularly attended classical music performances. At 20 years old Copland opted to continue his studies in Fontainebleau, France, where he received tutelage from the famed Nadia Boulanger.

A Visionary Composer

Studying a variety of European composers while abroad, Copland made his way back to the U.S. by the mid-1920s. Having been asked by Boulanger to write an organ concerto, Copland eventually debuted Symphony for Organ and Orchestra on January 11, 1925, with the New York Symphony Society under Walter Damrosch. 

The decade that followed saw the production of the scores that would spread Copland’s fame throughout the world. He was concerned with crafting sounds that would be seen as “American” in its scope, incorporating a range of styles in his work that included jazz and folk and connections to Latin America.

Some of his most well-known pieces include Piano Variations (1930), The Dance Symphony (1930), El Salon Mexico (1935), A Lincoln Portrait (1942) and Fanfare for the Common Man (1942). Copland later composed the music to Martha Graham’s 1944 dance Appalachian Spring. The following year Copland won the Pulitzer Prize for the piece.

An author as well, Copland published the first edition of the book What to Listen for in Music in 1939, followed by Our New Music (1941) and Music and Imagination (1952). The latter title was shaped by the composer’s Norton Lectures at Harvard, and he also taught at the New School for Social Research.

Oscar for ‘Heiress’

Copland was a renowned composer of film scores as well, working on Of Mice and Men (1939), Our Town (1940) and The North Star (1943)—receiving Academy Award nominations for all three projects. He eventually won an Oscar for The Heiress (1949). And more than a decade later, Copland composed a stark, unsettling score for the controversial Something Wild (1961). Selections from his various works would be used in TV series and commercials over the years, as well as films like Spike Lee’s He Got Game (1998).

In his later compositions, Copland made use of a European derived tonal system. By the 1970s, he had ceased crafting new works, focusing on teaching and conducting.

Death

Copland died on December 2, 1990 in North Tarrytown, New York at 90 years old. Having received an array of accolades in his later years, the iconic composer had also worked with Vivian Perlis on a two-volume autobiography, Copland: 1900 Through 1942 (1984) and Copland Since 1943 (1989). A well-received, lengthy biography on his life was published in 1999—Aaron Copland: The Life & Work of an Uncommon Man, by Howard Pollack. And an extensive collection of Copland’s works, including his personal letters and photographs, are held by the Library of Congress.

Download Copland’s sheet music from our Library.

Legacy

Copland wrote a total of about 100 works which covered a diverse range of genres. Many of these compositions, especially orchestral pieces, have remained part of the standard American repertoire. According to Pollack, Copland “had perhaps the most distinctive and identifiable musical voice produced by this country so far, an individuality … that helped define for many what American concert music sounds like at its most characteristic and that exerted enormous influence on multitudes of contemporaries and successors.” His synthesis of influences and inclinations helped create the “Americanism” of his music. The composer himself pointed out, in summarizing the American character of his music, “the optimistic tone”, “his love of rather large canvases”, “a certain directness in expression of sentiment”, and “a certain songfulness”.

While “Copland’s musical rhetoric has become iconic” and “has functioned as a mirror of America,” conductor Leon Botstein suggests that the composer “helped define the modern consciousness of America’s ideals, character and sense of place. The notion that his music played not a subsidiary but a central role in the shaping of the national consciousness makes Copland uniquely interesting, for the historian as well as the musician.” Composer Ned Rorem states, “Aaron stressed simplicity: Remove, remove, remove what isn’t needed…. Aaron brought leanness to America, which set the tone for our musical language throughout [World War II]. Thanks to Aaron, American music came into its own.”

Aaron Copland’s music has served as the inspiration for a number of popular modern works of music:

Copland’s music was prominently featured throughout Spike Lee‘s 1998 film, He Got Game.

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Beautiful Music

Baden Powell interprets One Note Samba (sheet music)

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Baden Powell interprets One Note Samba with sheet music

baden powell free sheet music pdf

Baden Powell – a Short Biography

Baden Powell was considered one of the world’s best contemporary acoustic guitar players and one of the most expressive composers of 20th century Brazilian popular music.

Baden Powell was born in the town of Varre-e-Sai (State of Rio de Janeiro) on August 6, 1937, first child of Adelina Gonçalves de Aquino and Lilo de Aquino and was named after the founder of the Boy Scouts, Robert Thompson Baden Powell, of whom Mr. de Aquino was an admirer. The family moved to Rio when the child was four months old and Baden then became a carioca from the São Cristóvão borough. The boy grew up listening to music: his father, a shoe maker by trade and a violinist by calling, held regular get-togethers at home, at which Pixinguinha and Donga, two of Brazil’s popular music icons, were always present.

At the age of eight, after much insistence from Baden, his father arranged for him study guitar with Jaime Florence (“Meira”), violinist from the group “Regional do Canhoto”. Florence introduced Baden to Brazilian popular music and the classics, especially the Spanish masters Francisco Tàrrega and Andrés Segóvia. The boy proved to be a prodigy on the instrument and the following year at age nine, performed in the program Papel Carbono, produced by Renato Murce at the Ràdio Nacional, winning first place as a guitar soloist. By thirteen Baden was practically playing as a professional musician, earning small cachets for performances in balls and parties in the suburbs.

After finishing junior-high school, Baden Powell worked as a musician for the Ràdio Nacional and toured the country performing in small towns. Around 1955 he joined the trio of pianist Ed Lincoln which performed in the Bar Plaza, in Copacabana. At that time jazz had marked its presence in Brazil not only by the possibilities of improvisation and the technique required, but also by the presence of jazz greats such as Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, etc. And the Plaza was the place to be for music lovers, including one of Powell’s admirers: Antônio Carlos Jobim.

That is when Baden started to compose and, all by himself, produced Deve Ser Amor (It Must Be Love), Encontro Com a Saudade (Date with Loneliness), Não é Bem Assim (Not Quite Like That). In 1956 came his first big success Samba Triste (Sad Samba), with lyrics by Billy Blanco. Other collaborators are: Aloysio de Oliveira (Vou por Aí – Wandering), Geraldo Vandré (Rosa Flor – Rose), Ruy Guerra (Canção à Minha Amada – A Song to My Love), etc.

In 1960, during a performance by Tom Jobim at Arpège, a nightclub in Copacabana, Baden met Vinícius de Moraes, who would become his most frequent collaborator and who was responsible for Baden’s integration into the bossa-nova movement. Cançã o de Ninar Meu Bem (Lullaby for My Love) was the duo’s first composition and was an immediate success. The new greats of modern music were practically in house arrest for three months. Samba em Prelúdio (Samba in Prelude), Só por Amor (Only for Love), Bom Dia Amigo (Good Morning, Friend), Labareda (Blaze), Astronauta (Astronaut) were from that vintage and remained in the charts for months on end.

Baden, now part of the bossa-nova movement, participated in shows and television programs. As an interpreter he highlighted his versatility, his refined technique coupled with unique musicality, conquering the highest applause for his absolute command of the instrument, virtuosity and personalized interpretations.

As a composer he contributed with his songs to the development of popular music. The composer’s inspiration is of unsurpassed richness and new, successful songs with lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes were introduced shortly; among these Além do Amor (Besides Love), Valsa Sem Nome (No-name Waltz), Deve Ser Amor (It Must Be Love), Canção do Amor Ausente (Song to an Absent Love), Consolação (Solace), Deixa (Let It Be), Amei Tanto (Too Much Loving), Tempo Feliz (Happy Times), Apêlo (Appeal), etc., etc. The Candomblé theme which had been attracting Baden for some time, generated a new flood of compositions by the duo called Afro-sambas. The first songs of the new genre were Berimbau and Samba da Bênção. The latter was part of director Claude Lelouch movie Un Homme et Une Femme, re-titled Samba Saravah.

In his declarations about Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes said: “Before Berimbau and Samba da Bênção, Baden had already chosen me to write Canto do Caboclo Pedra Preta (Black Rock’s Chant). That song was composed ‘right there and then’ – that is, music and lyrics for the second part searching for a meaning for the original caboclo’s chant. From that same period is Canto de Yemanjá in which, it is my opinion, Baden reached a beauty rarely attained.” Vinicius went on: “Baden’s musical antennae to Bahia and, in a final stretch, to Africa, allowed him to put together this new syncretism, adding a ‘carioca’ taste, within the spirit of modern samba, to the Afro-Brazilian candomblé, giving it a more universal dimension.”

Other Afro compositions include Canto de Ossanha (Ossanha’s Chant), Canto Xangô (Xango’s Chant), Lamento de Exu (Exu’s Lament), Bocoché (Secret) and Tristeza e Solidão (Sadness and Solitude).

In the Sixties, Baden went to the United States to meet and play with Stan Getz. In 1966, Baden went to Europe and became well known with the song Samba de Bençao which was part of the original soundtrack of French filmmaker Claude Lelouch’s Un Homme et Une Femme. One year later, he received his first Golden Record in Paris. In the Seventies Baden discovered Japan.

Baden Powell died on 2000. As an acoustic guitar virtuoso, he never forgot his Brazilian musical roots. Baden bridged the gap between classical and modern music.

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